TF Sport's GT Open championship back on track after Silverstone

Monday, July 25, 2016

Last weekend finally saw TF Sport's Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey finally catch a small piece fortune that would ultimately give them the momentum needed to finally kick their International GT Open Championship into action with two superb finishes at Silverstone.

With a slightly reduced entry to normal the #34 car carried on with their own programme of word during both Free Practice sessions, setting up both the car and drivers against others with much newer machinery but never being more than 0.6seconds behind the pace setter.

Saturday morning was the turn of Driver 1 to set a qualifying time (Salih Yoluc) under the ever watchful guidance of his Pro co-driver and coach Euan Hankey. Very much playing their own game they sat out the early laps before finally undertaking just six laps to set a time capable of P9 and saving their tyres for the race.

Come the start of Race 1 the #34 car got muscled out from the optimum racing line going into Copse forcing Yoluc to slow slightly back into the those squabbling at the rear of the pack. By the time they all entered Stow for the first time one of the Radical RXC cars found himself arriving at the corner at a vast rate of knots, missing his turning point tapping Yoluc into a spin.

Fortunately their was no race impairing damage done and Yoluc was quickly able to rejoin the race albeit last but one. What followed was an extraordinary display of car craft from someone of lesser ability than others out on track at the time, manoeuvring his car back up the leader board to eighth by the time of his compulsory pitstop.

Whilst the cars ahead of him were putting on a show battling for second, Hankey was able to start making up the deficit between them by the tune of up to five seconds per lap and with ten minutes to go he was up to fifth. With the clock ticking down his next and final target was Shaun Balfe in his new McLaren 650S who offered little real resistance to Hankey's charge.

That was the way Race 1 ended -  with a very strong fourth for the #34 car having had a large piece of luck not to sustain damage on their opening lap spin but it did have to be the point of raising what might have been!!

Sunday morning it was the turn of Driver 2 to set the qualifying time with Hankey placing their car a mighty P3 behind the #48 FF Corse Ferrari 488 and the #1 Teo Martin BMW M6 for the rolling grid.

At the start of Race 2 Hankey was able to use his local knowledge and experience to grab second place by the time they had rounded Copse first time around with just the Ferrari 488 of Jamie Stanley ahead of him. Frustratingly for Hankey that would be his view for his entire stint, never quite being able to get the jump on the Ferrari to take position despite putting the #48 car under intense pressure. Such was the closeness of the racing between the top two that both cars stayed out for their maximum possible time pitting with just 25minutes remaining for the co-drivers to decide the outcome.

Despite TF Sport taking tyres and the FF Corse not it was the #34 who emerged from the pit exit in front by over 4 seconds. Pushing himself to perform at the limits expected from someone with more experienced Yoluc was easily pounding in consecutive lap times better than those around him, stretching his lead all the way.

At the end of the race it was a total domination from Yoluc crossing the line for a long overdue victory by more than 27 seconds ahead of the now second placed Teo Martin M6. Great stuff and thoroughly deserved.

This result now elevates the pairing to fourth in the championship with 64 points chasing the championship leading Crestani/Biagi who have 96 points with three rounds remaining. The team will now have to wait until mid September before the next round of the series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria before the final two rounds in October and November respectively.
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